Jan 6 Committee Tweets Direct Warning At Trump Allies

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On Thursday, Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) — the chair and vice chair of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, respectively — appeared before the House Rules Committee to advocate for bringing a resolution before the full House that had been approved by the riot investigation committee to refer former Trump administration official Jeffrey Clark for prosecution on contempt of Congress allegations. Clark was a prominent figure in efforts within the Justice Department to use the levers of the federal government in support of corrupt efforts to undercut the outcome of last year’s presidential election, and Trump even temporarily considered appointing Clark as acting Attorney General.

Clark had previously been subpoenaed by the riot investigation committee, and he showed up there — but refused to provide relevantly substantive answers to the panel. Now, he’s claiming protections under the Fifth Amendment, which blocks self-incrimination, and he’s set to re-appear before the riot investigation committee this weekend — but in the meantime, Thompson and Cheney are hoping to get the contempt finding moved forward to cover for the (perhaps likely) event that Clark’s time with the panel again falls apart. Ultimately, the final decision on whether or not to prosecute rests with the Justice Department.

As Thompson put it in testimony on Thursday:

‘As the Select Committee’s report lays out, we sought out voluntary cooperation from Mr. Clark. He refused. We subpoenaed him for documents and testimony. At his deposition, he wouldn’t answer questions. He bickered with our members and counsel, and then got up and left. This is unacceptable, colleagues — it’s unacceptable as we try to gather facts of January 6. Let’s remember what the Select Committee has set out to do: provide answers to the American people about the worst attack on the legislative branch since the war of 1812… and to learn everything about what led up to that day of violence… If we do not hold Mr. Clark accountable, or anyone else who refuses to cooperate, we are creating a dangerous new norm. We are undermining our own standing as a co-equal branch of government.’

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To be clear, the contempt finding against Clark seems likely to be approved by the House and sent to the Justice Department — the House did the same when the riot investigation committee voted to hold top Trump ally Steve Bannon in contempt for his subpoena defiance, and he’s now been charged with two counts of contempt of Congress. Speaking before the Rules Committee, Cheney added the following:

‘The events of January 6 can not go un-investigated. The Select Committee will do its duty. Republican Leader McCarthy made the conscious choice to withdraw entirely from this committee… We hold these positions of public trust to do what is right and just. Above all, our duty is to preserve our Republic, not to act for political convenience, not to attempt to conceal what happened. I would ask each of you, please, do your duty.’

Cheney also said that observers should anticipate “multiple weeks” of public hearings put on by the committee throughout next year. Watch Cheney’s remarks below: